Posts Tagged ‘Galatians’


It is astounding on the recovery journey the weird hiccups life brings us. Such as the auto reminder sent to my e-mail the morning of Saturday July 6, by AHS in regards to my next ART session (ART is Accelerated Resolution Therapy for my PTSD). Now think, it has been almost 3 weeks since my last treatment, so already in the “meh” phase and ohh the flashbacks we will know. The hijinxs is that the auto reminder is for the wrong day, right time. So, I call the number and it is not a person, but rather an automated voicemail and leave the message correcting them. Now what to do? Well, the time and date they sent me does not work because I cannot be in two places at once. The authentic appointment booked I will show up for.
Why?

Like the writing of Paul today in Galatians, A-C-C-O-U-N-T-A-B-I-L-I-T-Y and a standard to hold our teachers (in the case therapists, healers) too. This is part of the beauty of the ancient sacred texts of our worlds’ religions…you can come to them again and again where you are in the pilgrimage of life and new wisdom speaks to your Spirit. Paul, was formerly Saul of Tarsus, he was a bad ass for the ancient religious-political oppressors until he met a vision of the resurrected Jesus on his way to Damascus, and became a convert to the Way of Love.

Galatians is an epistle (letter) that touches upon community life. This passage comes into the understanding of What’s a Samaritan, for it touches upon community and where we gain our wisdom from. This version is from Eugene Peterson’s translation, The Message, a fairly contemporary reimagining of the sacred writing:

1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.

4-5 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.

6 Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.

7-8¬†Don‚Äôt be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others‚ÄĒignoring God!‚ÄĒharvests a crop of weeds. All he‚Äôll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God‚Äôs Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.

9-10 So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.

11-13 Now, in these last sentences, I want to emphasize in the bold scrawls of my personal handwriting the immense importance of what I have written to you. These people who are attempting to force the ways of circumcision on you have only one motive: They want an easy way to look good before others, lacking the courage to live by a faith that shares Christ’s suffering and death. All their talk about the law is gas. They themselves don’t keep the law! And they are highly selective in the laws they do observe. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast of their success in recruiting you to their side. That is contemptible!

14-16¬†For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. Can‚Äôt you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do‚ÄĒsubmit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what¬†God¬†is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life! All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God‚ÄĒhis chosen people. Peace and mercy on them!

-Galatians 6:1-16 (The Message)

I love how the words pop. What we put into our lives is what will grow. If all we take in is the darkness, and lose the light then we will be succumbed. Know that we are an interconnected organism and each piece of our life will affect other pieces. That is we do not know where the connections will happen (and as I experience ART I can attest the spider-webbing of memories and some of those links make no logical sense, but heart sense they do).

The word’s of Paul speak ot the cruciform life, what is that? A life shaped by the cross. Now there is many regular readers, and hearers going I have gone off the track with this. Nope, see what brought Jesus to his execution and the Holy Mystery saying n’uh to that death? A life lived contrary to what the Empire and Religious Oppressors said was true, and beneficial. He threw off the caste system, shared hope and love. Reminded everyone that they belonged simply because they were created in Holy Love in the Imageo Dei.

Jesus, also laid out the path that we are to be critical thinkers. Giving our time to learn from, and do life with those that breathe life into us and challenge us to grow and create a better world– that is bring the Kingdom here. We are to be critical and thoughtful, discerning if you will for those that are false teachers…I mean have you seen comments from Franklin Graham recently, I think Paul is quite shrewd in pointing out we take the cruciform lens of the disciple life of Jesus to those that profess to be our superstars in this era of a new emergence.

But it also points out the communal responsibility to care for the caregivers, the teachers, the healers, those that ensure our society continues rolling in health. Quite a reflection for this era we are in of the commodification and coding of life? Quite a contemplation to eradicate this concept of those who are deserving and undeserving of aid? What Would Jesus Do is more than a cliche, it is a simple answer of grow the circle wider.

Or as Paul keeps pointing to…grow the circle wide, disciple, love, care for…oh and ensure we all belong without the labels.

Image may contain: text

Purchase Soul Ripples as an e-book or trade paperback at Amazon.

cover


This week winds the road of discovery, and renewal of Spirit. It acknowledges our holistic self, that is what the Medicine Wheel teaches of the mind, body, soul and spirit. Let’s be honest, to often we get sucked into the idea of puffing ourselves up. Collecting awards, growing our bank accounts, or more that gives us status and prestige in life. In the midst of it all though we forget who we are, and why we are here. It is an easy path to veer off of.

The Christian Testament readings brings us into the Epistles (fancy word for letters) to early gatherings. It is a letter written between 49-55 CE, by Paul. Galatia was a territory in Asia minor, populated by Celtic settlers. An intriguing backdrop as if it has a later writing then Paul is in the midst of the Corinthian conflicts, and just before he wrote to the gathering in Rome. This is a letter used in the 16th Century during the Protestant Reformation debates around faith and justification as Reformers, being used by local monarchs for Empire building, argued with Roman Catholic Clerics the vestige of elder Empire building.

Yet these words are used today, as we come with our own stories and eyes to speak to us. And what is within? The lectionary lays out 5:1, 13-26.

1 For freedom Christ has set us free. Stand firm, therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.

-Galatians 5:1 (New Revised Standard Version)

Paul levels the opening of this chapter with a huge issue in the ancient world. The role of slavery. Now we like to pretend this has been put to rest, but slavery still exists within our capitalistic globalization in places that do not pay living wages, or more horrendously within human trafficking. What Paul is reminding folks is not to let the divisions that had existed before carry into the gathering.

That is that in Christ, there is no labels of separation. He is reminding folks not to surrender to the old. What are ways that we leave our path? We chase what we assume will make us the next “it” thing. Whether it is technology, fashion, faux body image, the list can go on for what we assume are positive, yet there is also negative labels that we throw down to create separation and keep people divided. Think along the lines of the arguments about are you “insert group here” one of us? That’s our money? the hoops one has to jump through to qualify for aid. The idea the value of the person rests on ability, sobriety, gender identity or economics.

This leads us into later in the chapter with ancient echoes:

13¬†For you were called to freedom, brothers and sisters;[c]¬†only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for self-indulgence,[d]¬†but through love become slaves to one another.¬†14¬†For the whole law is summed up in a single commandment, ‚ÄúYou shall love your neighbor as yourself.‚Ä̬†15¬†If, however, you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.

16 Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For what the flesh desires is opposed to the Spirit, and what the Spirit desires is opposed to the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you want. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not subject to the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are obvious: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, 21 envy,[e] drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. I am warning you, as I warned you before: those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

-Galatians 5:13-21 (NRSV)

Slaves to one another… does that mean no boundaries? No, it is an ancient metaphor on loving self and neighbour as Paul points out the summation of everything in Love. He directly uses the outcast label, the non-person label as a stark and strong reminder that we are all images of the holy. It invalidates that label. Paul then uses Greek Platonic philosophy to illustrate the false separation of body and spirit. He points out that because we are in the Spirit we are different. The things laid out were the ways that the Empire used to de-value, control and oppress the masses. It was also was the controllers used to suppress their own traumas of what they had survived to rise to power.

It is the seeking of power to the setting aside of the value of love and the image of God.

Let’s hear that again: It is the seeking of power to the setting aside of the value of love and image of God.

Truly, you have made everyone around you nothing more than numbers, labels or functions for your own fulfillment. It is what the current religious right use in our society to point to loss of “God” in our world. Yet what is lost, is God being used to cover up what Paul wrote here of, the separation of the children of God, the abuse, and misuse to build power. Things that should be set aside. The label making remnant of Eugenics in a world where you must prove yourself human enough and worthy enough to exist in society. That is the “flesh” fallacies Paul was writing of, but he did not end there.

While Paul, leads you out of Empire living, into the heart of the Great Commandment Brother Jesus laid out. What happens when we enter into that healthy Love circle:

22 By contrast, the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control. There is no law against such things. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, competing against one another, envying one another.

-Galatians 5:22-26 (NRSV)

It is moving beyond black and white, moving beyond labels and coding. To seeing the person before us, and authentically living in the gray of life. A gray that allows the circle of inclusion to be drawn wide, and within the width, authentic belonging becomes the norm.

As the Kingdom is near… will we be the tipping point?

Image result for galatians 5


In Exodus there is a scene where Jethro, Moses father-in-law comes to Moses and points out that he needs to stop doing everything for everybody. He needs to commission leaders and trust them to care for and lead the people. It is quite an aha moment for Moses, yet it seems like a no brainer. Micro-management kills creativity and the spirit, the reverse is altarship of a leader overburdens that leader and shatters them. See when you become the be all and end all for a healthy community then the Shadow easily overtakes you, you are no longer apart of, and living in and out of…you become that which you wanted to avoid. You succumb to ego, to the voices that believe you are the only way. We have seen it in a myriad of industries whether religious (slipping into cult) or entertainment or politics or sports or business.

Brothers,[a]¬†if anyone is caught in any transgression,¬†you who are spiritual should restore him in¬†a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.¬†2¬†Bear one another’s burdens, and¬†so fulfill¬†the law of Christ.¬†3¬†For¬†if anyone thinks he is something,¬†when he is nothing, he deceives himself.¬†4¬†But let each one¬†test his own work, and then his reason to boast will be in himself alone and not in his neighbor.5¬†For¬†each will have to bear his own load.

-Epistle of Galatians 6:1-5 (English Standard Version)

Paul is writing to the families and gatherings in Galatia, much like Jethro came to Moses. It is time to remember that we are who we are. We do what we do, no one is better than another one. But be together. Ensure that the community is part of discernment, not just the individual so the true Spirit is revealed. It really is laying out an idea of house gathering. Something current institutions struggle with. We do huge corporate gatherings okay, a place to be included. But actual belonging, being, is about knowing the neighbour.

It becomes part of what Jethro laid out, smaller group gatherings. Like the old Parish model where a church served a neighbourhood. Those who attended would live there, and do life there. This concept is harder within a world that is separated-faux connected by social media and technology-in other words never disconnected yet always separated. Loneliness, in the see of crowds.

Let the one who is taught the word share all good things with the one who teaches. 7 Do not be deceived: God is not mocked, for whatever one sows, that will he also reap. 8 For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. 10 So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.

-Epistle of Galatians 6: 6-10 (English Standard Version)

Share all things. Life. It is about connecting at a level of personal and intimate ways. Opening oneself up to the other. Being and doing life together. Sometimes these groups take the form of a book group, coffee klatch, political thought, writers (or other art) group, sports team, Sacred text exploration, movie group…what is the key though is it is a group that connects each week, spends time together talking and sharing about life. When one leaves they are encouraged, and feel a positive change.

See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand. 12 It is those who want to make a good showing in the flesh who would force you to be circumcised, and only in order that they may not be persecuted for the cross of Christ. 13 For even those who are circumcised do not themselves keep the law, but they desire to have you circumcised that they may boast in your flesh. 14 But far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which[b] the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world. 15 For neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation. 16 And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.

17 From now on let no one cause me trouble, for I bear on my body the marks of Jesus.

18 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit, brothers. Amen.

-Epistle of Galatians 6:11-18 (English Standard Version)

And if you had missed the point that it is about connectedness and belonging over any structured set of rules– Paul himself smacks the legalists upside the head with his bold written strokes. We are here to be something new. That means we build on what has come before, constantly re-examining based on new experiences, new information, new insights and mystic life.

The new birth is about becoming whole. Aspects that we have been taught of our interior castle need to be silo’ed becoming one. Not only our interior castle, but then the exterior community is the same. Moving into a state where discussions of the whole life are not verboten or taboo, but become normal table talk. For how can we grow to our full potential, if we cannot broach the most intimate of topics about our life with our social circle of support?

For what is belonging, but becoming…the being we are meant to be in the whole community.

 

Spirit Loops 3

Posted: December 16, 2018 by Ty in Brunch & Bible
Tags: , , ,

There are many ways to view holy texts. Some take a very literal-fundamentalist lens in which the black and white on the page is what was literally transmuted by the Holy Mystery. The human behind it being nothing more than a possessed teletype. It can also be looked as all allegory. It can be viewed as history, or anthropological-sociological texts. Fine literature is another way. No matter where we fall on the spectrum when it comes to reading sacred texts, what sets apart the skeptic with agenda, and the critical soul is the value they place in the stories. For that is what sacred texts are, humanity’s stories of wrestling with, experiencing, living and journeying with the Holy Mystery.

O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you?¬†It was before your eyes that Jesus Christ was publicly¬†portrayed as crucified.¬†2¬†Let me ask you only this:¬†Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by¬†hearing with faith?¬†3¬†Are you so foolish?¬†Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by[a]¬†the flesh?¬†4¬†Did you suffer[b]¬†so many things in vain‚ÄĒif indeed it was in vain?¬†5¬†Does he who supplies the Spirit to you and¬†works miracles among you do so¬†by works of the law, or by hearing with faith‚ÄĒ¬†6¬†just as¬†Abraham ‚Äúbelieved God, and it was counted to him as righteousness‚ÄĚ?

7¬†Know then that it is¬†those of faith who are¬†the sons of Abraham.¬†8¬†And the Scripture, foreseeing that¬†God would justify[c]¬†the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying,¬†‚ÄúIn you shall all the nations be blessed.‚Ä̬†9¬†So then, those who are of faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.

-Epistle of Galatians 3:1-9 (English Standard Version)

It is one of the things many who have encountered me in ministry struggle with. Due to my progressive ways, and reads/explorations of the Hebrew Bible and Christian Testament many would want to class me as a heretic. Yet, one of the greatest gifts I have ever gotten at different points in my life is these stories. For, like any sacred text or story you hold as holy, each time you come back to it something new is enlightened. Much like Galatians. It is a writing of growth. For a psychologist, holistic, social or otherwise, Paul is writing to the gathering in Galatia about lifespan development.

The moment when black and white laws fade more into the background as we grow and change in life. The laws (or rules) we have grown up with have shaped our internal moral compass. It has given us core values. Those values are what guide. Yes there are times when the laws and rules come into play. Usually when we succumb to the shadow, or let our gremlins-saboteur literally sabotage us as the old urban legends from the RAF went. Yet it is these values, the core Cosmic Christ that Paul reminds the following of. The values that were instilled at the beginning when the cosmic dust and holy breath crafted us.

10¬†For all who rely on works of the law are¬†under a curse; for it is written,¬†‚ÄúCursed be everyone who does not¬†abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.‚Ä̬†11¬†Now it is evident that¬†no one is justified before God by the law, for¬†‚ÄúThe righteous shall live by faith.‚ÄĚ[d]12¬†But the law is not of faith, rather¬†‚ÄúThe one who does them shall live by them.‚Ä̬†13¬†Christ¬†redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us‚ÄĒfor it is written,¬†‚ÄúCursed is everyone who is hanged¬†on a tree‚ÄĚ‚ÄĒ¬†14¬†so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might¬†come to the Gentiles, so that¬†we might receive¬†the promised Spirit[e]¬†through faith.

-Epistle of Galatians 3:10-14 (English Standard Version)

In our growth as people, beliefs change. Sometimes they are shattered completely as Paul lays out here. The only way to move out of our identity politics, and ideological entrenchments is to be jarred. The life and death of Brother Jesus did that, as it turned on its head what was understood about being cursed and blessed.

When has this happened in your life? That moment when what you believed to be true, was revealed to be a gremlin in your head?

To give a human example, brothers:[f]¬†even with a man-made covenant, no one annuls it or adds to it once it has been ratified.¬†16¬†Now¬†the promises were made¬†to Abraham and to his offspring. It does not say, ‚ÄúAnd to offsprings,‚ÄĚ referring to many, but referring to one,¬†‚ÄúAnd to your offspring,‚ÄĚ who is Christ.¬†17¬†This is what I mean: the law, which came¬†430 years afterward, does not annul a covenant previously ratified by God, so as¬†to make the promise void.¬†18¬†For if the inheritance comes by the law, it no longer comes by promise; but¬†God gave it to Abraham by a promise.

19 Why then the law? It was added because of transgressions, until the offspring should come to whom the promise had been made, and it was put in place through angels by an intermediary. 20 Now an intermediary implies more than one, but God is one.

21 Is the law then contrary to the promises of God? Certainly not! For if a law had been given that could give life, then righteousness would indeed be by the law. 22 But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe.

23 Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. 24 So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a guardian, 26 for in Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.27 For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ.

28¬†There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave[g]¬†nor free,¬†there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.¬†29¬†And¬†if you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring,¬†heirs according to promise.

-Epistle of Galatians 3:15-29 (English Standard Version)

There comes the point in life when you realize, and it is wisdom that brings you to this- not knowledge or age, that we are all part of the human family. There is inherent value just in the life. In that life is the promise of discovery of joys, loves, hopes, happiness, contentment, vocational purpose and the ability to positively impact our world through the simple acts of the Love Commandment. Loving the Divine that connects us, loving ourselves as our true self is, and loving our neighbour.

Paul is writing about the growth of life. The journey from infancy to becoming a toddler to school age to adolescence to entering young adulthood and into adulthood.

For that is what wrestling with the pilgrimage story is. That is the beauty and love within and for these writings I have.

For that is what sacred texts are, humanity’s stories of wrestling with, experiencing, living and journeying with the Holy Mystery.

 

 


The writing of Galatians is Paul writing about coming into his own. The balance within the community between extremes, and coming to the Via Media (middle path). Preston Manning wrote in his leadership book about two pillars of the Christian political world in Canada- Woodsworth and Aberhart- they were two sides of the same coin. Woodsworth with the Social Gospel was focused on the community transformation; Aberhart was focused on personal transformation. Both necessary, yet one movement emphasized only a piece of it.

That is what Paul is laying out here, the danger of extremes, and the danger of exclusion of one piece or one population:

Then after fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along with me.¬†2¬†I went up because of a revelation and set before them (though privately before those¬†who seemed influential) the gospel that¬†I proclaim among the Gentiles,¬†in order to make sure I was not running or had not¬†run in vain.¬†3¬†But even Titus, who was with me,¬†was not forced to be circumcised, though he was a Greek.¬†4¬†Yet because of false brothers secretly brought in‚ÄĒwho¬†slipped in to spy out¬†our freedom that we have in Christ Jesus,¬†so that they might bring us into slavery‚ÄĒ¬†5¬†to them we did not yield in submission even for a moment, so that¬†the truth of the gospel might be preserved for you.¬†6¬†And from those¬†who seemed to be influential (what they were makes no difference to me;¬†God shows no partiality)‚ÄĒthose, I say, who seemed influential¬†added nothing to me.¬†7¬†On the contrary, when they saw that I had been¬†entrusted with¬†the gospel to the uncircumcised, just as Peter had been entrusted with the gospel to the circumcised¬†8¬†(for he who worked through Peter for his apostolic ministry to the circumcised worked also through me for mine to the Gentiles),9¬†and when James and Cephas and John,¬†who seemed to be¬†pillars, perceived the¬†grace that was given to me, they¬†gave the right hand of fellowship to Barnabas and me, that we should go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcised.¬†10¬†Only, they asked us to remember the poor,¬†the very thing I was eager to do.

-Epistle of Galatians 2:1-10 (English Standard Version)

The early apostles saw Paul’s change not in his words, but in the journey he had walked. The balance of personal and communal transformation. The balance, not slipping to far into any one ideology. There was movements within the early gatherings of extremes as well…much like we wrestle with today. One would say extremists only exist on the right end of the political-theological spectrum. This is a misnomer, for extremism exists in all types of belief systems and ideologies. Taken to extremes social conservatism and progressiveness can create harm. Now stop the pearl clutching on either side, for it is true.

The horror of eugenics existed and still exists in both extremes. It can take on anti-lgbttq2+ rhetoric, ableism, anti-migration/immigrant, anti-semitism, Islamophobia, or the simple act of so demonizing the other viewpoint they are no longer seen as humans. It is in professionalism that uses coding as the be all and end all for the individual. That is they are nothing more than a number, whether in social services, affordable housing, public education, health care or the justice system. It is about moving language away from citizens to tax payers so that only those that are of the “haves” matter in society. It is about letting a circumstance become the definer of the individual instead of their Imageo Dei.¬†That is, that it is okay to create a caste hierarchy of existence, and such violence is not a problem against the opponent. It also creates an atmosphere of group think, where to protect standing one will succumb to this belief structure.

¬†But¬†when Cephas came to Antioch, I opposed him¬†to his face, because he stood condemned.¬†12¬†For before certain men came from James,¬†he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing¬†the circumcision party.[a]¬†13¬†And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.¬†14¬†But when I saw that their¬†conduct was not in step with¬†the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas¬†before them all, ‚ÄúIf you, though a Jew,¬†live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?‚ÄĚ

-Epistle of Galatians 2:11-14 (English Standard Version)

Yes it is not only the outside world that is responsible for curtailing hate. It is within our own movements and institutions. Those pesky ethics, morals and values need to be front and centre. Now I hear some clamouring that there isn’t an issue with this in the Christianities– poppycock (yes a good theological word). The rise of populism, propped up by what is termed the “Religious Right” in North America has seen a rise in hatred. Now the reader will go, yeah but you said it wasn’t right or left.

This is true, for hatred comes from all corners. It comes from those that see any group as less than. It is about overzealous environmentalists that do not see the impact or accept it is okay for a segment of the population not to live. It is those that believe forced sterilizations of persons with disabilities or aboriginals is okay. It is the religious right, upholding those that do not hold to their base values and saying “God’s elect” that allow Nazis back in our streets undeterred.¬† Historically, the rise of the Klu Klux Klan, and today the centre of a revisionist Christ at the core of many white supremacy/alt-right movements. It is progressive faith movements that create a space where leaders feel they have to be disingenuous to who they are because a partner has emerged into their true self whether trans or in the spectrum, even if the partner does not identify on that end of the spectrum. Not knowing you can love, and be friends, best friends, but romance may not be there anymore…or for those questioned who continue within the relationship because they emerge into their own as well. It is allowing blatant lies and cover ups to exist to protect one’s own political or religious power. Regardless of the harm being done- from frauds to bullying to sexual harassment to rapes, because we have elevated a leader or leaders to a messiah like position.

Paul risked all by calling¬† out Peter, the one given the keys to the Kingdom. Think of the courage that took knowing it could lead to a termination of his association with the movement he had converted to. It truly was a “going for broke” mentality to ensure integrity of leadership.

 We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; 16 yet we know that a person is not justified[b] by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

17 But if, in our endeavor to be justified in Christ, we too were found to be sinners, is Christ then a servant of sin? Certainly not! 18 For if I rebuild what I tore down, I prove myself to be a transgressor. 19 For through the law I died to the law, so that I might live to God. 20 I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not nullify the grace of God, for if righteousness[c] were through the law, then Christ died for no purpose.

-Epistle of Galatians 2: 15-21 (English Standard Version)

A trImage may contain: outdoor, text that says "#i Happiness can be found in even the darkest of times, if only one remembers to turn on the light. J.K Rowling @YahushuaJourney"ue lesson for any movement as a gut check. If in the process of attempting to craft a new world, one is called into the darkness…then it is darkness you are reaping. Harm you do to achieve the goal, it is harm you are birthing. The old adage of the ends justify the means, is one of Empire, not Transfiguration.

Transfiguration means, even if it takes longer, it is about communal transfiguration and independent transfiguration not as independent events. They are interdependent lights that burn brightly into the darkness.

Will you be that light in the darkness at the doorstep?

 

 

 

 

 

Spirit Loops 1

Posted: December 14, 2018 by Ty in Brunch & Bible
Tags: , , ,

Paul, an¬†apostle‚ÄĒnot from men nor through man, but¬†through Jesus Christ and God the Father,¬†who raised him from the dead‚ÄĒ¬†2¬†and all¬†the brothers[a]¬†who are with me,

To the churches of Galatia:

3 Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ,4 who gave himself for our sins to deliver us from the present evil age, according to the will of our God and Father, 5 to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

-Galatians 1:1-4 (English Standard Version)

Paul puts quill to paper sometime around late 40’s CE to 60 CE and writes a letter to the people of Galatia. Some believe it is the Roman province, others the Celts living in Asia Minor. It is either written after a missionary visit of Paul to the region, or the First Jerusalem Council designed to address the melding of the Gentiles and Jewish followers… the balance of law and grace. That is what Paul is attempting to get at, as he espouses about the gospel:

I am astonished that you are¬†so quickly deserting¬†him who called you in the grace of Christ and are turning to¬†a different gospel‚ÄĒ¬†7¬†not that there is another one, but¬†there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ.¬†8¬†But even if we or¬†an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you,¬†let him be accursed.¬†9¬†As we have said before, so now I say again: If anyone is preaching to you a gospel contrary to the one you received,¬†let him be accursed.

10 For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant[b] of Christ.

-Galatians 1:6-10 (English Standard Version)

The term “Gospel” is a political declaration of the way of life that is intended within the Kingdom. Out of this great things have happened- truth & reconciliation committees; human rights (including feminism and LGBTTQ2+); humanitarian organizations; addiction recovery services; universal health care; #metoo; #churchtoo; rooting out pedophiles; working on environmental causes; affordable housing; public education, social safety nets, to name but a few.

These are the Gospel that has joyfully sprung from this ideal of justice and equality, grown out of the fertile soil that is hope, joy, peace, faith and love. The fertilizer for that soil being the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth (and many other spiritual teachers, before and after) in creating a New World. The challenge laid before us is this concept of false gospel. For me, in Twenty-First Century Canada, I see this as the renewal of populism. The concept that “I” and my beliefs matter more than “we” and the community.

What does this mean?

For¬†I would have you know, brothers, that¬†the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel.[c]¬†12¬†For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it¬†through a revelation of Jesus Christ.¬†13¬†For you have heard of¬†my former life in Judaism, how¬†I persecuted the church of God violently and tried to destroy it.¬†14¬†And I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people, so extremely¬†zealous was I for¬†the traditions of my fathers.15¬†But when he¬†who had set me apart¬†before I was born,[d]¬†and who¬†called me by his grace,¬†16¬†was pleased to reveal his Son to[e]¬†me, in order¬†that I might preach him among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone;[f]¬†17¬†nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.

18¬†Then¬†after three years I went up to Jerusalem to visit Cephas and remained with him fifteen days.¬†19¬†But I saw none of the other apostles except James¬†the Lord’s brother.¬†20¬†(In what I am writing to you,¬†before God, I do not lie!)¬†21¬†Then I went into the regions of Syria and Cilicia.22¬†And I was still unknown in person to¬†the churches of Judea that are in Christ.¬†23¬†They only were hearing it said, ‚ÄúHe who used to persecute us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy.‚Ä̬†24¬†And they glorified God because of me.

-Galatians 1:11-24 (English Standard Version)

It took Paul to decide to change after a mystic experience. It took a community, willing to step outside of themselves to witness the transformation, and journey with Paul instead of ostracizing. Change can be scary. Existing in multi-cultural Canada is a scary thing for some people, that descend into populism (across ideological spectrums) where their ideal of “truth” becomes the end in itself, and any hate peddled does not matter. This is seen in environmental movements with their ableist push for single use plastic straw bans; social conservatives with the defense of conversion therapy and lawsuits against school GSA’s. The false gospel, rears its head when the outcome is contrary to the large circle of inclusion Jesus danced here on earth to show all were welcome at his table.

It is seen in political wings that accept lies from their leaders, whether governing left wing parties covering up MLA’s accused of sexual impropriety; or Loyal opposition leader postulating hate, and running a party that works actively to exclude; bully and accepts identity theft as has been accused by outgoing candidates, MLA’s and members. Populism is when you blindly follow, and have surrendered one’s ability to critically think and assess.

That is what the Jerusalem Council was about, bringing together the church Elders/leaders (Apostles) to discern what was to happen with what could have been a schism that collapsed the movement. There was entrenched ideologies of Circumcision Party and the Hellenists, to name a few. The voice of a minority driving to stop healthy change and inclusion. We have seen this when extremes enter any healthy movement- the recent controversy over a 1940’s Christmas song,¬†Baby it’s Cold Outside, not listening to understand, but to respond and prove oneself right, thankfully CBC reneged and re-added to the play list. It is this idea that “I” and the way I want the world to be, means more than others around me.

In Vancouver, a hate-filled couple were allowed to re-enroll their child in pre-school and awarded $12,000 by the B.C. Human Rights tribunal (article here), excerpt:

Mangel, who was on the board of directors for the school, wrote an email to other members¬†saying it wasn’t appropriate for preschoolers to celebrate Christmas, Hanukkah or any other “religious/political event”¬†‚ÄĒ including, he said, Remembrance Day.

The Human Rights Tribunal had come to a head after many verbal, emotionally abusive confrontations from the parents including Islamophobia (¬†another that depicted the World Trade Center in New York with the caption “Atheists don’t fly airplanes into buildings.”¬†-excerpt from CBC article) and Nazi Salutes (see how I have a hard time stating they are Atheists?). The parents were given an ultimatum letter to sign off on their child’s curriculum, they refused, the child was not allowed to enroll. This was the crux of the tribunal’s decision, not that the couple was right but that the ultimatum was a violation of their rights to choose where to send their child.

The flip though, as noted by Paul, is that these parents had bought into a false gospel. The family lives in a multi-cultural country, where all are embraced and celebrated. The school was honouring all traditions. The parents even so much as challenged the validity of Remembrance Day or that children should not sing Canada’s national anthem.

The school was happy the matter was concluded. In future they should probably just issue a cease and desist order to families of this nature. What it shows though is that “faux” rage-o-tron some are so willing to go to. To cause as much harm as possible to get their point across, and in the process not caring what harm is done to those they say they are fighting for. When in fact, there are mechanisms already in place in our pluralist society that would allow for them to home school, or find another educational setting that fit their child, and family’s rather hateful predilections. Instead, we accept that our “gospel” (ideology) is superior and take to the yelling louder until the opponent walks away, not because you are right, but because they are weary with being brow beaten.

For as Paul lays out, our actions follow us. What we say, and write becomes how we are known. It is hard to reverse course and change things once you have been “labelled”. As Paul’s life proves, but it is possible. The first step however, is understanding that just because one person believes something, does not mean that they have a right to bully their way to a win. The false gospels need to be called out, and silenced, if we are to create a new world.